Grow your skills in a collaborative community
From submitting your admissions application to applying for your visa, we provide the personalized support you need to pursue your career in the arts. Our global community of artists, makers, and entrepreneurs is ready to welcome international students to an exciting studio culture at CCA through summer programs, clubs, events, and more. You’ll also have easy access to thriving industries in design and technology, thanks to CCA’s central location in the San Francisco Bay Area’s arts and design hub.
To apply for admission to CCA, international students must create, gather, and submit the following:
- An online application and nonrefundable application fee of $70 USD
- Personal essay
- High school and/or university transcripts
- One letter of recommendation
- Portfolio (log in to SlideRoom)
- Proof of English proficiency (TOEFL, IELTS, C1 Advanced/CAE, CEFR, and PTE)
- Resume (graduate students only)
If you have questions about the application process, please email us at [email protected]. If you have unofficial versions of documents required for your application, you can email them for review at [email protected].
Note: A portfolio is optional for students applying to the MBA in Design Strategy program.
If you need an F-1 visa to attend CCA, you’ll receive immigration information after paying your nonrefundable graduate enrollment deposit of $500 USD online using WebAdvisor ($115 is applied to registration fees, and $385 is applied to your fall semester).
Select the graduate program you’re interested in below to learn how to apply:
- MBA in Design Strategy (DMBA)
- MFA in Design
- MDes in Interaction Design
- MFA in Fine Arts
- MFA in Writing
- Master of Architecture (MArch)
- Master of Advanced Architectural Design (MAAD)
- MA in Curatorial Practice
- MFA in Comics (This program is considered “low-residency.” Please read the addendum regarding visa requirements before applying.)
- MFA in Film
- MA in Visual and Critical Studies
Admissions process in other languages
For United States citizens whose primary language is Spanish, we also offer a Spanish translation of CCA’s admissions process and requirements.
Transcripts: Transfer and second-degree applicants
If you plan to transfer academic credits earned at non-U.S. institutions, you must submit a translated evaluation of your postsecondary (college) transcript(s). We recommend you use World Education Services (WES) or another evaluation agency recommended by the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) to prepare such an evaluation.
English proficiency requirements
Unless English is the official language of your home country, you must submit one of the following test scores:
- Official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
- International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
- Cambridge English: C1 Advanced (formerly known as CAE)
- Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)
- Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic)
Scores are valid for two years from when the test was originally taken. If more than two years have passed, you must retake the test for CCA to consider it as part of your application.
Sending your ETS and CEEB scores to CCA
When preparing to take these tests or to request your scores, use the following school codes:
- TOEFL, IELTS, and SAT: 4031
- ACT: 0176
How do you qualify for an English proficiency waiver?
If you’re an international student who has studied and graduated from a college in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, or Australia within the last five years of submitting a graduate application, you’re eligible to have the English proficiency exam waived.
If more than five years have passed since graduating, you must take and pass one of the above English language proficiency exams.
Occasionally, students can be accepted to CCA on the condition that they enroll and complete an approved English language course and submit proof of English proficiency.
Alternatives to the English proficiency requirement
We have many ways for international students to satisfy their English proficiency requirement. Explore your options below.
If you believe you should be exempt from taking a proof of English language proficiency test, please speak with your international admissions counselor.
Three steps to apply
We know the student visa and I-20 process can feel overwhelming, so we’ve broken it down for you into three steps. If at any time you need assistance, please feel free to contact us.
International students have the same application deadlines as domestic students. CCA practices rolling admissions, which means applications can be submitted for review after the priority deadlines, but merit scholarships may not still be available.
Designed to support your needs
From submitting your application to getting your student visa to finding scholarship opportunities, we’re committed to creating a support system that makes it easier for international students to pursue their future in the arts.
Enrollment counselors are standing by
We’re here to answer your international admissions questions through a number of channels, including email, ground mail, fax, and phone.
Online hours: 8:30–10 am and 3–4:30 pm (PT)
San Francisco office
1111 Eighth Street, first floor
San Francisco, CA 94107 USA
Hours: M–F, 8 am–4:30 pm
Office of Admissions
California College of the Arts
1111 Eighth Street
San Francisco, CA 94107-2247 USA
CCA comes to you
Our admissions counselors travel the world to meet students like you who are interested in pursuing arts and design at one of the best art schools in the world. We travel to all regions of the world, so check the schedule below and find out when we might be near you next. Come by and introduce yourself. We love meeting students like yourself who are passionate about transforming culture and themselves through the study of art and design. We also recommend you RSVP, as appointments fill up quickly.
Nearly half of all international students at CCA are awarded merit scholarships, ranging from $10,000 to $20,000 USD, based on a student’s portfolio and academic success. Here’s who can be considered:
- All college transfer students who apply for admissions for fall by the priority deadline are considered for merit scholarships
- All high school seniors applying for fall admission who have completed their admissions application by Feb. 1 are considered for merit scholarships
Note: CCA cannot offer financial aid in the form of federal loans or federal work-study to international students.
Graduate scholarships range from $10,000 to $36,000 USD. Scholarships are highly selective and are issued by the graduate programs based on the strength of the student’s application. If you’d like to be considered for a merit scholarship, please apply by the Jan. 10 deadline. Please note that CCA cannot offer financial aid to international students in the form of federal loans or federal work-study. Learn more about financial aid
Swedish graduate applicants
If you’re a Swedish student entering CCA in fall 2019 and are pursuing an MFA in Fine Arts or Design, you can apply for the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation Scholarship. CCA offers this merit scholarship of $25,000 to one student each academic year, and it’s renewable for one additional year of study.
We sponsor several opportunities for international students to gain work experience while getting an education at CCA. If you’re interested in finding a job, explore employment options for international students.
Other financial aid resources
International students are not eligible for need-based financial aid, but you may search for additional aid resources from the following organizations. You can also search this list prepared by the International Student Affairs and Programs office.
- Institute of International Education
- Education USA
- Sallie Mae Signature International Loan Programs
- International Education Financial Aid
- Scholar Vault
- International Student Loan Center
- International Scholarships Online
A word of caution: If a scholarship has an application fee, don’t apply. If you have to pay money to get money, it’s probably a scam.
If you’re an international student seeking a private loan, additional lenders may exist other than those noted here. You are not required to borrow a loan and/or select a lender from the resources provided by CCA. We’ll process private loans from any eligible lender you select. CCA may not deny the choice of a lender or cause unnecessary delay in loan certification for any eligible student.
Your best work is yet to come
Renowned faculty, innovative facilities, and a unique, inclusive culture in the Bay Area makes CCA one of the best art colleges in the world. With everything from pre-arrival guides and international ambassadors to our Summer Start program for international students, we’re committed to setting you up for success at CCA.
Meet with our Admissions team
Attend an event for admitted students near you
Mumbai, India: March 23, 2019
Mexico City, Mexico: March 23, 2019
Delhi, India: March 24, 2019
Quito, Ecuador: March 26, 2019
Shanghai, China: March 28, 2019
Beijing, China: March 29, 2019
Sao Pãulo, Brazil: March 30, 2019
Take advantage of Summer Start
This six-week, six-credit program is designed specifically for international students who have been admitted for the summer semester. Through a hybrid-studio course, made up of an interdisciplinary group of peers, students benefit from personalized introductions to CCA’s facilities, take field trips throughout the Bay Area, and receive customized English language instruction.
Summer Start is not only a great way to earn six credits toward your degree, but is also the ideal way to join CCA’s community. You’ll meet fellow international students and get a feel for campus and American academic life before the fall semester begins. Here are some important program dates:
- Friday, July 5, 2019 - Housing check-in
- Monday, July 8, 2019 - Summer Start begins
- Friday, Aug. 16, 2019 - Summer Start ends
For more information or assistance, please contact Calder Yates.
Your CCA ambassadors
A creative and supportive community awaits to welcome you to CCA. Meet your ISAP student ambassadors and learn about opportunities to socialize and learn about your new home away from home.